We need to begin reopening the country! – A personal anecdote for a loss of purpose

Lockdown and isolations are taking their toll on communities. Jobs, purpose and social interaction are vital for personal growth and development.

The innate focus on the virus and external politics has blinded us from seeing the importance of individuals and replaces it with an obsession of collective. Every instance where this happens ALWAYS leads to an unhappy populous.

Individualism is not selfish – it’s not the enemy. In many cases, it represents self care, strong will and character that can be used to help the collective. Denigrating those that believe in liberation and individualism as nothing more selfish degenerates hurts individuals, and the collective.

Jobs are important. They provide purpose, goals and structure. Our modern capitalist society rewards people for thinking of others, as monetary gain doesn’t simply come from thinking about one’s self. Not only are they lifelines to provide physical amenities but they help you meet people, forge friendships and develop skills. Even those jobs deemed ‘dead-end’ jobs are enjoyed by many because of companionships that are formed and purpose it brings.

As a young man leaving university, I was quickly slapped in the face with the staunch reality that my piece of paper was fundamentally worthless. The sudden loss of goals, ambition and purpose all abandoned me inconceivably fast – no amount of education or self-preparation would have made me any more equipped to deal with that loss.

Within the awkward in-between stages of going from education to employment, I found myself feeling so bitter with the world and the loss and anger was all stemming purely from a lack of purpose. Feeling like a failure, and stagnating with no personal growth and development in sight, badly affected me in way I fear it may do to others as they lose their jobs and opportunities because of Coronavirus.

I can recall occasions of random teary-eyed outbursts whilst on the shop floor of my old supermarket role. Thoughts of doing idiotic, unthinkable and selfish acts, whilst running through my erratic thought processes to a therapist. All of this brought on out of nowhere, it seemed, by a lack of direction – a loss of certainty and security.

If I felt like this in my privileged position, I shudder to think how others feel. Those who’s livelihoods are built up in their jobs. Those with family obligations and needs to maintain. Those watching their passion, their small business or job promotion, be simply washed away.

I hope others can relate to this. When I’m working, I feel useful – like I’m contributing not only to myself and my own skills bank, but to people that depend on me. The feeling of being a part of a collective unit that bond together and get things done, no matter how difficult and stressful, is a great one. I fear this feeling of purpose and realising self-actualisation cannot be replaced with a government ‘stimulus cheque’.

Not everyone is dealt the same hand; some may love nothing more than to see the back end of their jobs. But boredom quickly ensues and the novelties of fiscal liberation wear off. Humans are innately bad at forging their own paths and fall into products of their environment. If nobody is working, advancing or innovating, we could be doomed to stagnate and suffer with a lack of mental stimulation.

When people say ‘austerity kills’ they aren’t wrong – but it’s in more ways than one. The mental health as a result of money problems and isolation issues will disproportionately affect our most elderly and our youngest the hardest.

Remember, the economy and human happiness are directly tied together. It’s not murder to examine our reopening strategy, it’s good policy.

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